A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.
of human life; since, when the fabric of a ship and the variety of her sails are considered, together with the artificial contrivances for adapting them to her different motions, as it cannot be doubted but these things have been brought about by more than ordinary sagacity and invention; so neither can it be doubted but that, in some conjunctures, a speculative and scientific turn of mind may find out the means of directing and disposing this complicated mechanism much more advantageously than can be done by mere habit, or by a servile copying of what others may have, perhaps erroneously, practised in similar emergencies.  But it is time to finish this digression, and to leave the reader to the perusal of the ensuing work, which, with how little art soever it may be executed, will yet, from the importance of the subject, and the utility and excellence of the materials, merit some share of the public attention.


Of the Equipment of the Squadron, and the Incidents relating to it, from its first Appointment to its setting Sail from St Helens.

The squadron under the command of Mr Anson, of which I here propose to recite the most material proceedings, having undergone many changes in its destination, its force, and its equipment, during the ten months between its original appointment and its final sailing from St Helens, I conceive the history of these alterations is a detail necessary to be made public, both for the honour of those who first planned and promoted this enterprize, and for the justification of those who have been entrusted with its execution; since it will from hence appear, that the accidents the expedition was afterwards exposed to, and which prevented it from producing all the national advantages the strength of the squadron and the expectation of the public seemed to presage, were principally owing to a series of interruptions, which delayed the commander in the course of his preparations, and which it exceeded his utmost industry either to avoid or get removed.

When, in the latter end of the summer 1739, it was foreseen that a war with Spain was inevitable, it was the opinion of some considerable persons, then trusted with the administration of affairs, that the most prudent step the nation could take, on the breaking out of the war, was attacking that crown in her distant settlements; for by this means, as at that time there was the greatest probability of success, it was supposed that we should cut off the principal resources of the enemy, and should reduce them to the necessity of sincerely desiring a peace, as they would be deprived of the returns of that treasure by which alone they could be enabled to carry on a war.

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